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Paul Simon Unimpressed by Fred Armisen’s Folk Knowledge in ‘Portlandia’ Clip

Comedian bombards music legend with odd questions about vocalizations and “old Gaelic Irish singers” in hilarious clip

Of all the hipsters and wiseasses that populate Portlandia, high-brow know-it-alls Kath and Dave are the most hilariously grating. In a new teaser for this week’s episode, the arrogant couple – played by Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen – attempt to impress Paul Simon with their knowledge of folk music, but they end up looking stupid in front of a songwriting legend. 

“I’ve got a lot to say,” Dave thinks to himself, sitting in the audience at the Portland Star Theater during Simon’s autobiography Q&A session. “I’m really gonna make an impression on Paul Simon.” “He’ll say, ‘Good question – I’ve been waiting my whole life for someone to ask that,'” Kath daydreams. But their plan immediately crumbles when Armisen’s character quietly mumbles his question without using the microphone. 

Kath tries to impress the musician by noting that they “know [his] entire discography,” but Simon looks disinterested. Then Dave, in an attempt to use as many musical terms as possible, arrives at this awkward query: “We had heard…I had heard a folk singer, and his vocalizations didn’t have the discerning quality, tonality – I think you and I seem like we’re the same type of musically trained judges of how people sing. Do you find your discerning ear to criticize, or at least assess, that type of vocalization – or is that just us?”

Dave also asks if Simon has a hard time understanding thick accents of “the old Gaelic Irish singers,” to which Simon responds in fake solidarity. “Just for the sake of expediency, I’m going to agree,” Simon says. 

The full episode of Portlandia premieres Thursday, March 5th at 10 p.m. EST on IFC.


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